Harvey S. Hecker Character Development Series: Our words are a powerful force to build – and destroy.

#2 Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
Originally published by Rabbi Shraga Simmons on aish.com

“Love your neighbor as yourself – I am God.” (Leviticus 19:18)

“Love your neighbor” is the universal Golden Rule, which the Talmud defines as a “great principle” of Judaism. 1 How we treat others is a litmus test of our spiritual health. Since God is the ultimate “giver,” 2our pursuit of Godliness is driven by acts of giving. 3

When I give, I become more embracing and inclusive of the world. I expand my “personal investment portfolio” of the people I’ve helped. Seeing that bit of self in another attaches me emotionally and endears me to them. In this way, the giving actually leads to love. 4

This is the Kindness Paradox: the biggest beneficiary of kindness is the one performing it. (That’s why parents love their children most of all; it is their greatest investment.) Significantly, the Hebrew word for “give” – hav – is the etymological root of ahava, meaning “love.” 5

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